Triple-Electrode vs. Single-Electrode Spark Plugs

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  1. #1
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    Triple-Electrode vs. Single-Electrode Spark Plugs

    UPDATED 9/27/06 with additional plug numbers.
    UPDATED 10/14/05 with additional plug numbers.
    UDPATED 5/28/07.

    Just thought I'd post up what works and what doesn't for my '98 AEB engine.

    Triple-Electrode works.

    Single-Electrode doesn't.

    And by triple-electrode, I'm talking about the OEM-style copper-electrode plugs, not platinum. I experimented with the Bosch Platinum Single-Electrode F5DPOR, and it met my heat-range needs, but power dropped off radically after 6000 rpm. The FR5DTC's gave me the heat range I needed w/o killing power at high RPM.

    I have run the following triple-electrode (copper) plugs in my car, all with great success:
    Bosch FR5DTC (best) [two heat ranges colder than OEM]
    Bosch F6DTC (next-best) [one heat range colder than OEM]
    Denso K22PBR-S (next-best) [one heat range colder than OEM]
    Bosch F7LTCR (OEM plug) (too hot for high boost) [OEM heat range]NOTE: 5/28/07 this plug has been replaced by the two-electrode FR7LDC+. Go figure. They seem to work.
    Denso K20PBR-S10 (too hot for high boost) [OEM heat range]
    NGK BCP6ET (too hot for high boost) [OEM heat range]

    Here's some more triple-electrode plug numbers, but I haven't tried them:

    NGK BCP7ET [one range colder than OEM]
    NGK BKUR6ET [OEM heat range]
    NGK BKUR7ET [one range colder than OEM]


    The following single-electrode plugs haven't worked well at all.
    Autolite - forgot the number
    NGK PFR7Q [one range colder than OEM]

    The single-electrode plugs misfire. They just do. I've even got VAG-COM error codes to prove it. Especially this last, brand-new batch of NGK PFR7Q's. They misfired BAD when cold. OK when warm, but the engine didn't feel as strong. After three days, I put my used Densos back in, and the car ran great. The PFR7Q's were sooty as hell on the electrode, but the insulator was white as a sheet.

    Recall that the AEB has larger intake valves than the subsequent engine codes. Looking at the plugs side-by-side, they extend the same depth into the combustion chamber. But the three-electrode design puts the spark about 1/8" further into the chamber. I think, for the AEB anyway, that this must be necessary. Plus, with the triple-electrode design, the flame front has clear propagation into any part of the combustion chamber. The single-electrode design prevents the flame from propagating evenly on the electrode side. Again, this may be a critical design parameter only for the flow characteristics of the AEB head.

    Single-electrode plugs (PFR6Q) are OEM for the ATW, AUG, and AWM engine codes. So if they are working fine for you, don't switch.

    For the members that are successfully using singles in your AEB - admittedly, my engine asks more from a plug than a stock engine or even a chipped one. I have port-matched the intake manifold and ports, and port-matched the exhaust mani, and a few other things. And I "suffer" from radically advanced timing due to my "Holey MAF" mod. So you can see that my combustion chamber would put more "stress" on the spark. But I think by extension, if you have an AEB, you'd get better performance using triples. If you need cheap triples, get the Densos.
    Last edited by Rusty; 05-29-2007 at 11:53 AM.

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  3. #2
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    Another triple-electrode plug from NGK is the BKUR6ET. I don't know how/if it differs from the BCP6ET that you've tried, but I thought I'd throw it out there for others to see.

  4. #3
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    I recently put E3 plugs in our 4-cyl minivan, and there was a notable difference. I'm hoping they're accurate when they say they'll be distributing a plug for the 1.8T in April - I do intend to try it out and will let you know how it goes.

  5. #4
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    I run 20PSI on my Denso singles with APR chip on my AEB. You looking at the "u Groove" ones right? 1.29 a plug ones. I vag commed myslef and have no misfires on any cylinders. If you get misfires by all means STOP using those plugs. I guess I have been lucky so far. knock on wood! I can't be sure exactly what model number denos I have in her now but they seem to work fine. Good luck Rusty!

  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rusty
    Bosch F6DTC (best)
    Denso K20PBR-S10 (too hot for high boost)
    Bosch F7LTCR (OEM plug) (too hot for high boost)
    NGK BCP6ET (too hot for high boost)
    What did you do to diagnose the heat range? Visually examine the electrodes? Exhaust gas temp? Log knock sensor data/timing retard?

  7. #6
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    Visual examination of electrodes and insulator + knock retard data. I have pics of the BCP6ET somewhere, lemme see if I can find 'em...

  8. #7
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    Aha! Here they are, in 1-2-3-4 order. You can see where cylinder three, especially, has physical evidence of too much knock, consistent with cyl 3 having the most knock retard. The one-heat-range colder Bosch F6DTC's looked a lot better. A little more soot on the electrodes, but the insulators at least had a touch of brown. These NGK's were totally ashen white-grey.

    (Note: right before I took these out, the wifey had been running REGULAR gas in the car... I gave her a sound tongue-lashing... "Honey, I know we're short on money but HAVING TO BUY A NEW ENGINE isn't going to help...)
    (BTW I have the car back now and she's driving the Scirocco...)
    (But then she went and put regular in it, too, and I have the timing radically advanced on that car... )

  9. #8
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    I tried some NGK Iridiums, and they were no good. Went back to the factory Bosch's and ran great.

  10. #9
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    if only i had read this before buying an icm and coilpacks. this week..dangit.

  11. #10
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    Don't forget that some of us don't get 91 octane (aka camel piss). With 93 oct. I get the best results using the NGK PFR6Q in my AEB!! I tried both of the Boschs single and triple and had misfires so bad I thought I killed another ICM. If I regapped the Bosch singles every 2k miles then all was great. I refuse to regap my plugs that often.

    Hey Rusty how is the scirocco after my visit and the cheap gas fiasco?

  12. #11
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    Is the plug issue to do with your octane ratings in the USA ? I just serviced my AEB engined 1.8T and was supplied OEM VW NGK platinum plugs (single electrode) rather than the triple electrode Bosch copper. One week on and no problems . When did those with the single core platinum plugs start to get issues , and what are the symptoms ?

  13. #12
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    i have a 99 passat 1.8T AEB engine. i put in platinum triple electrode bosch plugs and they were good for the first 20k but got gunged up quicker then normal plaugs. i didn't like them, when i put it new stock plugs, they were way better. just my two cents...

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